How do you get started with smoking shisha?
It’s easy to convince yourself that setting up and smoking your first shisha could be a tricky experience, what with all the different parts that make up your hookah. Don’t panic, though, you couldn’t be further from the truth! Whether you’re smoking alone or hosting a gathering of friends, shisha smoking is a great pastime for anyone.
Setting up your hookah pipe for your first smoke might seem daunting, but it’s relatively easy. Simply follow these steps:
Check that you have everything. Tick off these items on your shisha checklist:
- The bowl - This will hold your smokable hookah flavour
- The main shaft and stem - The shisha smoke will travel down this shaft towards water in the base
- The base/jar - The base or jar of your shisha pipe holds water which the shisha smoke will pass through
- The hose - A pretty important element here! The hose will pass the smoke from the base to yourself
- The shisha flavour - For smoking!
- A charcoal screen - This site between the shisha flavour and the hot coals
- The Charcoals - These coals will sit above the shisha tobacco/herbal flavour, lighting it
Step 1: Give it a quick wash:
Before your first smoking session - and when possible after each use - be sure to clean your shisha pipe to get rid of any tobacco residue that could affect the taste of your next smoking session. Giving the pipe a quick clean with soapy water before your first session is a good practice so you know that everything is in order and suitable for your use! Be aware that the hookah hoses will rot over time if they are continuously wet, so avoid cleaning these with water. A quick wipe down and a blow through should keep them squeaky clean.
Step 2: Add water to the base:
Check how long the stem is (attached to the shaft of the pipe, hanging down into the base). You should fill the base with water so that roughly an inch of the stem is submerged in the water; too much water can ruin your experience and cause damage to your hoses, as it can get pulled into them and cause them to spoil. Ensure there’s a layer of air at the top of your hookah base.
Step 3: Assemble your shisha pipe:
Now you can start putting everything together. Attach the shaft to the shisha base, ensuring that the stem is that inch below the water that we mentioned earlier. Attach your hose(s), being aware that if you have a multi-hose pipe you should attach all hoses even when you’re not using them all, as this ensures the shaft is sealed tight. Leave the bowl off for now as we need to test the airflow.
Step 4: Test the airflow:
Place your hand over the top of the shaft and suck through your hose. You should not have any air flowing through to the hose, it does, you’ve got a loose connection somewhere; check again that everything is airtight. You can wet the connectors - known as grommets - to ensure they’ll stay snugly in place.
Pro tip: If your bowl is a little too loose, wrap tissue around it to tighten it to ensure there is no air flowing in.
Step 5: Add your shisha flavour:
If you are using molasses or vapour paste based flavour, make sure you give your flavour a good mix, and that it’s not got any tobacco stems in it. If you are using steam stones, give them a good shake so that any juices are fully infused into the stones.
Fill your bowl with the flavour to about ¾ of the way up, and give it a pat down to create an even layer. Be aware that if you pack your shisha too tightly you’ll find it hard to pull air through it, so don’t give it too much of a press. If you are using vapour paste, then just rub in the flavour into the bottom of the bowl, you do not have to fill up the bowl for this.
Step 6: Light your charcoals:
Where possible, we recommend that you use natural charcoals, as these will give you a more pleasant smoking experience without any additional chemical taste. Light them whichever way you choose (example on a stove or using a charcoal burner) and once they’re glowing orange you can add them to the top of your bowl, to begin heating up the shisha tobacco. One or two charcoals should do the trick; you don’t want to burn your shisha (or your throat!).
Give the coals a few moments to warm up the tobacco and you’re ready to go! Smoke gently on your first time; like with any new experience shisha smoking can take some time to get used to. Be sure to give your coals a shuffle every 15-20 minutes, so you know you’re getting the best out of your shisha pipe.
And that’s it! You should now be enjoying your first shisha, have questions? Or even some pro tips? Leave them in the comments section below! ⬇️
The Shisha Shop, 11-13 Fairways Business Park, Lammas Road, E10 7QB London, United Kingdom
TEL: +44 20 8133 3263
A Simple 6 Step Guide to Smoking Your First Shisha